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Thread: LCT At It Again! Top 100 List A Fraud

  1. #1
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    This is the story of Limo Jim (LJ). LJ in his youth decides to get into the limo biz and he breaks his ass every single day building his business. You name it, he's on top of it. Purchasing fleet vehicles, promoting, offfice staff growing from momma & LJ to 3 dispatchers, purchasing a building to house the fleet, maintenance, driver's pay & coverages, licensing etc., LJ dedicates his life to this business venture. After 20 years, LJ has himself a fleet of 20 vehicles & he is proud of what he has accomplished. A strong business that provides a good income for his family & self.

    Then one day LCT arrives in the mailbox with a Headline screaming, "Ford Presents 100 Largest Fleets In 2007". Now what does FORD have to do with LCT's 100 is something else for discussion.

    LJ takes a gander & wonders what the hell he is doing wrong. Here are Industry Newbs that he's really never even heard of, in business for a couple of years & they're claiming fleet sizes of 100 & up.

    This is for the LJ's out there as we unravel the truth behind the "Top 100".
    ------------------------------------------------

    Every year LCT runs a "Top 100" issue whereas Operators submit numbers to LCT & they accept it as Gospel & put it to print. This year a couple of us decided do our own research by going to the licensing source & inquire to the size fleets registered by these Top 100.

    Sources include PUC's, VFH DMV listings, the NYCTLC website, Miami-Dade Consumer Services & so on. Unfortunately, local permitting agencies can only provide how many permits are issued to the Operator & not the actual number of vehicles registered.

    Left out of the survey was the top 3 as these are multiple city operations & the simple Industry knowledge that Carey International uses affiliates who themselves are seperate corporate entities in their own state of operation & the fleet size claim should automatically be disqualified.

    As with Limo Jim, the goal is to find out how many ponies does the operation have in the barn. That is, LJ's vehicles are registered to LJ & if LJ put the business on the market for sale included in that sale would be those 20 vehicles & not just a portfolio of clients & a telephone listing of Independent Operators who provide the movement of people.

    Or, to put it another way, what is the reported to the IRS. How many vehicles, fuel receipts, vehicle maintenance, insurance etc., are claimed as a business deduction?

    So far our research has uncovered the following. Listed is the Operator followed by the LCT No. then the research No.. If anyone wants to know the research source for a particular operator, post it & I'll provide it:

    Metro (Mi) 310/19
    Presidential 88/41
    Diamond 73/15
    Valera 211/0
    Diva 206/79
    LeGrande Affaire 160/56
    Bauer's 144/79
    Aventura 119/48
    Farrels 105/82
    Rudy's 102/104
    O'Hare 100/71
    Hy's 94/66
    Wynne 90/20
    London Town Cars 77/76
    A Premier 67/43
    Capricorn 65/43
    VIP 63/63
    Smart Cars 63/0
    Lifestyle 63/49
    Corporate Connection 62/11
    El Paseo 61/39
    American Limos 59/19
    Above All 54/17
    BKTT 50/35
    Westwind 53/8
    Action 48/30
    Reliable 64/53
    Tennessee 70/34
    Eagle 81/71
    WST* 135/0

    *Added to listing in Septembers Issue

    Absent from the Top 100 because they probably don't really care is MEARS out of Orlando. MEARS, based on the Orlando VFH permit listing is one of the strongest single city operators going with 310 permits + scores of over-the-road motor coaches not requiring Orlando VFH permits.
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
    http://gunnysairportlimo.com/tampa_a...ce_spring_hill

  2. #2

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    In a previous post by salicete I read about holding companies that own the cars. Is it possible that these companies cars are owned by holding companies as a protection from lawsuits?

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    I of course would be interested in how you came up with some numbers. I would also dispel the rumor that LCT accepted the reports as gospel truth, face value. That is totally incorrect and wrong. We asked for a "fleet list" from the reporting companies carriers and included only cars that were actually insured by the company. So what one company out of Los Angeles pays to insure and what you are reporting here are vastly different. As a result of many cry baby whiners, great lengths were taken to improve the accuracy including verifying insurance information. You would not pay for someone else's car to be insured would you? DMV registration is not and cannot be accurate. There are holding companies, partnerships etc. but the vehicles are insured to protect the company they perform work for.

    How about Digest Gunny. Are their numbers more accurate? How do they arrive at their numbers? Why do you always attack LCT? What is your true beef with LCT? I suspect that there must be some deeper issue than the Top 100. What is it?

    I am a true believer that the true number will never, EVER be known. There are numerous companies registered with PUC's that are not true limo companies. They are medi-van companies, combined taxi and limo operations etc.
    Jim A. Luff
    Forum Moderator
    Contributing Editor & Consultant - LCT Magazine

    Limousine Scene - An Award Winning Company Since 1990
    Bakersfield, CA
    Limousines, Sedans, Vans, Charter Buses, Limo-Buses, Wheelchair Vans www.limousinescene.com

  4. #4

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    Depending on how thorough a check is done it is also easy to miss larger vehicles which may not be locally regulated such as minibuses or motorcoaches.

    These large vehicles may not be counted at the local or state regulatory level but they most certainly would be included in a fleet count (and insurance cert) from the operator.

    I imagine gunny's method would have probably missed my true number by over 33%, as well as the other Austin limo company who runs lots of minibuses. For some large operators minibuses are a huge, huge part of their fleet, especially those who do contract bus shuttling for corporations or the government. (Yes, it is a seperate discussion for another day and another thread if those should be counted as part of a 'limo fleet')

    I can also tell you from personal experience that a DMV audit would not accurately show all my cars as we have various ownership methodologies in place, so using that method would yield yet a third different 'fleet count' for my company.

    All that being said, I think this discussion is good in the interest of helping ensure the LD/LCT organizations reflect on how to best count accurately.

    I would think insurance certs with VINs on it would be the most accurate cross check to any reported fleet size.
    Tony Franzetti
    Marriton Limousine, Austin, TX
    Austin Limousine service, Austin airport service, austin bus charters
    http://www.marritonlimo.com

  5. #5
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    Tony, you are correct that there could be in certain instances where the fleet total & match are skewed by the inclusion of buses. That is, in the instances where a DMV check was not the method of verification. Later on I will revise the listing by automatically deleting buses (as reported in LCT) from non-DMV checks & we'll see if & how much changes to truer accuracy. I would not make a blanket statement that DMV VFH listings in other states are not accurate unless it's a proven fact.

    Big Dawg, this isn't just about Calif though you wish it was. The easiest check is to pull out the Top 100 (July 07) issue. Highlight the NYC Operations, pull up the NYCTLC site, find the operators base numbers, go to the vehicle permit section, count the vehicles registered to that operator and there is the numbers. Easy!

    Example B00001- London Town Cars, #of vehicles listed to B00001 - 77, # vehicles with LTC as licensee - 77. I screwed up by forgetting to add one after the subtraction & therefore the LTC numbers reported to LCT are spot on.

    Another example would be Conn where the numbers came from the DMV. Rudy's was 1 off yet Hy's 28 off. As with the London Town Cars in NYC, if one proves accurate then all should be fairly accurate.

    The rest of your LCT BS I will not address unless you want to take a crack at the numbers posted in LCT for Carey.

    This isn't about beating up LCT It's about truer reporting on "fleet sizes" by the operators.
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
    http://gunnysairportlimo.com/tampa_a...ce_spring_hill

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    I like the way that Jim did the survey. In trucking, you have many owner ops that are 'leased on' with another company who has the authority. The company with the authority pays for the insurance on the units that are owned by others but they do not own them.

    I know you all aren't truckers but it is pretty much that same way of operating. A company leases an owned unit, and then provides said unit with jobs.

    Yes if all of the trucks went off and left the authority holder then yes, they would be left with a lot of jobs with no way of running. But the actual chances of that happening is slim to none.

    The authority holder has the contracts and knows the right people to get the runs, plus they are paying for the authority and the insurance, and in a lot of cases, fuel for the units (at least in trucking, I don't know if the IO's pay for their fuel or not)--why would they leave.

    It is the same in almost every industry. My family operates a construction company, it used to be a paper contractor, meaning that all we did was sub all of the work out and then act as project manager more or less. If the subs left, we would have nothing. We now do both, the paper side and the physical on site work.

  7. #7

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    I think that Gunny did an excellent survey.
    Dean Schuler

  8. #8
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Limo Insurance King:
    I like the way that Jim did the survey. .
    Jim did a survey?

    Personal experience with trucks (FEDEX Ground) the contracted driver acquires the truck through dealer lease or buy. Don't have the down payment or credit to get that truck, you don't drive. IC pays everything to run that truck. That is the IC's truck. If all IC's drove off the job FEDEX Ground is grounded period. No IC's providing trucks, no trucks to move the packages as FEDEX Ground does not own the fleet of vehicles.

    These so called limo operators with all IO's. No IO's providing cars, no cars to move the bodies as these operators do not own/control the cars. Simple

    The "O" by the way stands for "Operator"
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
    http://gunnysairportlimo.com/tampa_a...ce_spring_hill

  9. #9
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Limo Scene:
    . As a result of many cry baby whiners, great lengths were taken to improve the accuracy including verifying insurance information.
    So James, enlighten us on the great lengths taken to ensure the accuracy of the fleet number reported by West Suburban Traveler's Limousine added to the Top 100 count in Septembers issue when WST's very own website states that all of the vehicles are I/O's?
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
    http://gunnysairportlimo.com/tampa_a...ce_spring_hill

  10. #10
    Senior Member Wade Randolph's Avatar
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    So if someone questions LCT's numbers and methodology they are deemed "crybabies"?
    How dare we insult the industry "bible".

  11. #11
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TxLimoGuy:
    I imagine gunny's method would have probably missed my true number by over 33%, as well as the other Austin limo company who runs lots of minibuses. .
    Depends on verification source. If we went to the City of Austin for a VFH permit check, what would the amount ratio of permits issued to your vehicle fleet count be? Does the City require VFH permits on mini-buses?
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
    http://gunnysairportlimo.com/tampa_a...ce_spring_hill

  12. #12

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    Regs vary from city to city in Texas, but in Austin they do not regulate anything seating more than 14 passengers + driver...ie they do not permit or inspect H2 limos, minibuses or motorcoaches.

    It is also common practice to set up a seperate LLC/Corp for buses and/or do lease agreements so DMV check would also not be likely to show all vehicles unless you knew all the names to search under.

    Originally posted by gunny:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by TxLimoGuy:
    I imagine gunny's method would have probably missed my true number by over 33%, as well as the other Austin limo company who runs lots of minibuses. .
    Depends on verification source. If we went to the City of Austin for a VFH permit check, what would the amount ratio of permits issued to your vehicle fleet count be? Does the City require VFH permits on mini-buses? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Tony Franzetti
    Marriton Limousine, Austin, TX
    Austin Limousine service, Austin airport service, austin bus charters
    http://www.marritonlimo.com

  13. #13
    Senior Member KC's Avatar
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    Gunny - I can only speak for Houston, but our company holds two different licenses: one for our Sedans, Limousines and Vans (HLL - Houston Limousine license) & and one for our Mini / Limo Buses (HCSSL - Houston Charter and Sightseeing License). Our Motor Coach, since is TxDOT, does not have to be licensed thru the city, and is not.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TxLimoGuy:
    Regs vary from city to city in Texas, but in Austin they do not regulate anything seating more than 14 passengers + driver...ie they do not permit or inspect H2 limos, minibuses or motorcoaches. .
    To restate the question Tony, if I contacted Austin VFH section & asked for a permit count for Marriton, what number would I get & what is your fleet size?
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
    http://gunnysairportlimo.com/tampa_a...ce_spring_hill

  15. #15
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by KC:
    Gunny - I can only speak for Houston, but our company holds two different licenses: one for our Sedans, Limousines and Vans (HLL - Houston Limousine license) & and one for our Mini / Limo Buses (HCSSL - Houston Charter and Sightseeing License). Our Motor Coach, since is TxDOT, does not have to be licensed thru the city, and is not.
    Houston is set up as many of the multiple local permitting agencies are. When we asked for a count from licensing agencies, we asked how many vehicles for a specific company are permitted without specifications. And as I alluded to in the opening statement ,with the closed market cities, a common practice is for the permit holders to lease the permits out to other operators and that count we do not have. Just how many permits are issued to the licensee and that is what is counted towards fleet size accurate or not.
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
    http://gunnysairportlimo.com/tampa_a...ce_spring_hill

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